This is a Public Service Announcement.

If you wear clothes, listen up! (The 3% of my readership comprised of nudists can skip this post.)

When you buy a jacket, skirt or coat that has a vent/slit on the back or sides, sometimes it has a loose “X” stitch holding the vent together. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, YOU NEED TO CUT AND REMOVE THIS THREAD!!!!!!!! It’s not meant to be left in place! It’s a temporary stitch intended to keep the vent from opening/creasing while the jacket is hanging in the store.

Go to your closet(s), and examine every garment carefully to make sure you don’t have any temporary stitches holding those vents/slits together (NB: sometimes pleated skirts have these stitches, too, but I’m hoping nobody needs to be told to cut them—but you never know). If you see any, snip them immediately. I promise it’s the right thing to do. The coat/jacket/skirt will not hang right if you don’t. It will look awful, frankly. Really. Cut the threads.

While you’re at it, remove any tags on the outside of garments. If I see one more person with a “100% WOOL” tag on the sleeve of their coat, I am going to LOSE MY MIND.

Wow, it feels really good to get this off of my chest. You can ask Evan—I get totally irate every time I see a temporary stitch on someone’s coat. I mean, it really makes me crazy. I obsess over it. I point them out and stare at them and have to will myself to not take out a pair of cuticle scissors and snip the threads myself. I’ve even thought about having cards printed up explaining that the threads are supposed to be removed before wearing. I could discreetly slip them into the hands of offenders and then run away before they look at them.

Feel free to forward this post as you see necessary. Let’s work together to make this world a better place!

  1. BarbieNov 14, 200811:07 pm



  2. Anne (in Reno)Nov 14, 200811:15 pm

    Hahahaaa. I have to do this to my husband all the time. He always seems surprised. The same with pockets sewn shut so they will lie flat. They are real pockets! Unstitch them!


  3. annieNov 14, 200811:16 pm

    bravo! i’ll go in halfsies on those cards. this is the most important issue of our time.


  4. devonNov 14, 200811:24 pm

    i do this all the time. one time it drove me so crazy i told a coworker. that didn’t go over so…


  5. jaimeNov 14, 200811:28 pm



  6. far out brussel sproutNov 14, 200811:39 pm

    I gasp when I see people with the 100% wool labels on their sleeves. It’s like the open fly / spinach in teeth scenario – do you tell and risk the offender severe embarrassment or not tell and leave it to someone else to alert and embarrass?


  7. StephanieNov 14, 200811:52 pm

    Haha- I seriously think you should get those cards made up.


  8. RobinNov 15, 200812:12 am



  9. ahjNov 15, 200812:22 am

    Insane. And correct! I have the same urge.


  10. CathyNov 15, 200812:30 am

    THANK YOU. This drives me completely bananas too!


  11. Ann MarieNov 15, 200812:54 am

    I feel your pain. The 100% wool tag offense has been going on for years. It drives me nuts too! It’s time for it to end. Get those cards made. FAST!


  12. SusanNov 15, 20081:28 am

    BUT- leaving those pockets stitched up can prevent you from using them- thus preventing unsightly bulges. It’s worth thinking about! (I thought people only left 100% cashmere signs on their jackets- some sort of weird status symbol??)


  13. Anna at D16Nov 15, 20081:41 am

    Susan, I’m not sure I want to live in a world where people are afraid to use their pockets!


  14. West Coat KaylaNov 15, 20082:06 am

    It takes all I have from running towards these people with a sharp object and removing these TEMPORARY stitches!


  15. BenitaNov 15, 20082:11 am


    I bet you also love riding on the esclator behind someone who didn’t remove the 50% off sticker from the sole of their shoes?


  16. kathrynNov 15, 20083:28 am

    omg, thank you for this post. i seriously laughed out loud reading it. julie and i thought this was only a winnipeg thing, but we now know the problem is much more severe. please make the cards.


  17. CourtneyNov 15, 20083:51 am

    Ha ha ha. Hilarious. Thank you for issuing this important PSA.


  18. martinaNov 15, 20086:48 am

    hahaha, this seems to be a global problem!! :-) I’m from Switzerland and I see “x-stitched-and-wool-labelled-people” all the time… and even worse are those with the “100% cachemire”-labels, who leave them for everyone to see that THEY can afford cachemire… ;-))


  19. TerriNov 15, 20087:59 am

    haha I’m with you on this one. Another gripe is people not removing labels from their shoes (actually all labels for that matter) and not removing the little scottie dogs from their Radley bags.


  20. AftermathNov 15, 20088:30 am

    Double amen. Don’t even get me started on the new trend for baseball-hat-wearers to leave that hideous brand and size sticker on the brim.


  21. TheRoyalMeNov 15, 20088:30 am

    I seriously want to keep a pair of scissors in my pocket for this very reason. EVERY single time I get on the subway, SOMEONE is committing this crime.


  22. KirstenNov 15, 20088:54 am

    Can we get some major news outlets to carry this as a PSA? Please?!


  23. FionaNov 15, 20089:00 am

    This was a debate between two of my coworkers the other day. One hadn’t cut the stitch, and the other was like, “You need to cut that!”


  24. EllaNov 15, 20089:47 am

    As one of the 3% nudist readers, I sympathize with this worthy cause.


  25. DeleilanNov 15, 200810:03 am

    Anna, thank you for speaking out on this very serious issue. Let’s all do our part — start snipping!


  26. lisaNov 15, 200810:09 am

    Don’t forget scarves! And what about all those little coach, dooneybourke etc. lable tags hanging from purses.
    Okay – now maybe I need meds :-) but who else removes sticker lables from toiletries. Personally, I don’t need to see a big ‘dry idea’ logo looking at me every morn.
    Shampoo bottles too – logo free! :-)
    OH YEA! what about the stupid stickers on computers and laptops?!?!Please remove those too!!!


    chrisbean /


    I peel off all the labels from my hand lotion and deodorant and body wash, just because I don’t like the graphic design of the branding. It’s easier than decanting the lotion, and the (newly) plain white pump bottle looks great on display.

  27. AudrieNov 15, 200810:24 am

    My husband was completely guilty of this till I came along. The first time I pointed it out to him he looked so very shocked, and I so very wanted to bash his head in for not knowing lol!


  28. April in CTNov 15, 200810:37 am

    This is something I’ve never noticed before most likely because I don’t wear skirts or jackets with vents. Now that you’ve pointed it out though I will obsess over looking for people who haven’t snipped. Thanks! LOL


  29. wendeeNov 15, 200810:53 am

    There is often a temporary brand label on the sleeve of suits. It is meant to go. Rilly.


  30. marthaNov 15, 200810:54 am

    you rock.
    I feel fairly certain that if I met you in person, we would be fast friends.


  31. woodley park-zooNov 15, 200810:55 am

    The tags on scarves, I’ve been wondering — are they supposed to come out? But then on some, like rolled edge silk scarves, it sometimes seems it would be difficult to remove without damage. When I buy vintage scarves I like them to have the tags intact so I know the fibre content?

    I hate stickers on the bottom of shoes though — so tacky to see someone trying to look hot in a pair of stilettos but you can see a white price tag from the back??


  32. steven wadeNov 15, 200811:20 am

    haha. my girlfriend and i were walking behind a really schleppy guy last weekend here in chicago. she was very upset to see his coat slit still sewn up. she began a pretty similar diatribe to what you just posted. she will appreciate this entry. well done.


  33. sadeNov 15, 200811:39 am

    Seems to be a global problem, this. I see it too, here in Finland, especially the wool label on mens suit sleeves. It drives me nuts. All through my studies one lecturer wore a lot of the same jacket with the label on the sleeve. Sometimes I wondered whether I should tell him to remove it.


  34. rachelNov 15, 200811:44 am

    I can’t say I’ve ever noticed that stitch (I will now!!), but I have seen people’s new lampshades being used with their cellophane wrapping left on….


  35. maddyNov 15, 200811:46 am

    Too funny!

    By the way, people are also allowed to remove the giant tags on pillows that are simply there to let the consumer know that the pillow is new and unused. You can take them off after you buy them! Really!


  36. HusseyNov 15, 200812:20 pm

    I also wanted to keep a pair of scissor in my pocket. To fight and for many other portable purposes.


  37. CaityNov 15, 20081:45 pm

    Oh my goodness. I never knew this. Thank you!


  38. EmilyNov 15, 20082:28 pm

    Remove the tag from scarves too!!!


  39. lisaNov 15, 20084:42 pm

    D16 – I think you’ve started somethin’


  40. pigtown*designNov 15, 20086:25 pm

    I saw a woman at a meeting yesterday with a jacket that was so tight that I worried that the button would shoot off and put someone’s eye out. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when she turned around, the vent on her jacket was still stitched shut. It was all I could do not to slap her.

    As for the labels, I have a Norwegian sweater with a label on the sleeve and I haven’t taken off because it is stitched on so tightly and i worry the sweater would unravel if I mis-cut.


  41. SarahNov 15, 20087:17 pm

    Golden. Absolutely golden. Thanks for the chuckle =)


  42. Barb F (Australia)Nov 15, 20088:31 pm

    You are hilarious Anna! Now the election is over, we can concentrate on the big issues.

    I haven’t seen any vents with the X-stitch, but a squillion jackets with the wool labels still on the arm. On the flipside, I bought my mum a new microwave on Friday and helped her unpack it and put it into place. It had a huge notice stuck to the inside of the door saying DO NOT REMOVE THIS FILM! Who knew that people would want to rip the safety film off the inside of the glass. I mean, what the? There are some strange people out there.


  43. ChelseaNov 15, 20088:33 pm

    hahaha!!! I’m SO glad someone finally said something about this. I have always hated when people don’t cut the vent stitch. Why would someone think that it’s supposed to be there?!


  44. dagmagNov 15, 200811:14 pm

    lisa – i peel the shampoo labels off too. i love the minimalist/clean look. besides, i know what i bought, my house doesn’t need to look like a target aisle…

    anna – thank god for you. how the heck does someone think that label on the suit sleeve belongs there ??!!! wow.


  45. panyizsuzsiNov 16, 20081:50 am

    You are so funny. The only sad part is that you are absolutely right.


  46. karleeNov 16, 20083:14 am

    You will enjoy this article.


  47. AnnapolitanNov 16, 20083:44 am

    Twenty-five years ago I had a beautiful tweed Windsor coat, purchased from a catalog. One day I complained to a coworker that despite all this money I paid for this lovely coat, the pockets at the front of the coat were a sham; there were only flaps and no real pockets.

    She pointed out that the pockets had been sewn closed and I should remove the stitching at the flap.

    I’m embarrassed to say that I wore the coat for TWO YEARS with the pockets sewn closed.

    I am posting this under an alias. The shame is still too great.


  48. MichelleNov 16, 20086:13 am

    It’s a serious problem here in Australia too, particularly the wool tag on the sleeve issue. If there’s anywhere I can send a donation to help alleviate this global tragedy please let me know.


  49. danaNov 16, 20088:28 am

    oooo lalala also, those flimsy thread belt loops often found on dresses. my mother – a fashion designer – has no shame about telling ladies about this giant faux pas.


  50. lisaNov 16, 20085:46 pm

    okay. one last thing from me…
    stickers on my fruit drive me crazy and must be removed before placing in the bowl!


  51. TittiNov 17, 20083:26 am

    haha! sooo true! but here goes: I have a couple of clothing items from ‘Odd Molly’, and these garments have their logo stitched like a small label close to the hem at one side. they’re supposed to BE there, but it’s happened several times that I’ve received comments from both friends and complete strangers that I’ve forgot to cut the label… bad design?


  52. CassandraNov 17, 20084:43 am

    Yes yes YESSSSSSS!!!!


  53. erin@designcrisisNov 17, 200810:02 am

    Hilarious, Anna! I myself have a label cutting compulsion… I really like for all extraneous labels, stitches, etc to disappear. No itchy, no scratchy, and no embarrassing faux pockets.


  54. KristinaNov 17, 20084:45 pm

    I literally saw someone at the airport yesterday rocking a coat with a bright red vent stitch. I could stare at nothing else for a full half an hour. If my mother’s scarf isn’t done by her birthday, it’s that lady’s fault.


  55. MelissaNov 17, 20084:47 pm

    I work at Disneyland and it always brings me great contentment to see tourists wearing their brand new touristy Southern California t-shirts with the size stickers still on the back. I never have the heart to tell them– I’m a waitress and I’m sure it would affect my tip! lol

    …we don’t much have the coat problem in sunny Southern California.


  56. MildlyCraftyNov 17, 20086:24 pm

    I actually got out my swiss army knife and cut the label off the arm of my co-workers coat (with his permission) while we were in the lift :)


  57. michelleNov 18, 200811:41 am

    With the cold weather, I’ve been seeing lots of coats with the x-stitch. Drives me nuts, but what can you do without admitting that you were looking at someone’s backside.


  58. Jean MurphyNov 18, 20088:28 pm

    When I worked in NYC I used to see people on the trains and street with this affliction….it drove me crazy. I really think these people thought that the manufacturer left the “X” in place on purpose- thinking it was a new “fad!” Maybe the sales person didn’t tell them to make sure and cut the thread. Maybe they receoved the item by mail and just never noticed. Common sense should have told them that if you cut the thread on their coats they’d be able to take longer strides when they walked or ran to their trains, or be able to stretch in thier jackets without feeling uncomfortable. In the end I would shake my head and nudge my husband and tell him to look and say, “There goes another one!”


  59. SammiNov 19, 20089:35 am

    How embarrassing.

    After reading this, I double checked my new coat that I wore for the first time last night for stitches and I couldn’t find any. I’d already cut one out holding the collar down.

    After having a meal with my grandparents and putting my coat back on, I brushed it down only to get my hand caught in one of these stitches. Now, I swear it wasn’t there before I went out!! I was so embarrassed and thought immediately of this blog. As soon as I got back to my grandparents place, I cut the stitches out!


  60. HarrietNov 20, 20089:19 pm

    This makes me CRAZY! I am so glad that you pointed it out.


  61. MagdaNov 22, 20086:15 am

    Putting my hand up as another compulsive sticker/label-remover.

    My father-in-law bought a new computer a while back and I swear it gave me pins’n’needles of frustration seeing the big feature-advertising stickers still stuck all over the tower.

    Another thing which drives me barmy are those water- or energy-efficiency ratings stickers left on large appliances (here in Australia).

    I peel the stickers off anything I can (especially shampoo, etc).


  62. JanNov 22, 20088:03 pm

    Too funny. I feel the same way about the 100% wool tags on people’s coats. I think they are just too lazy to cut them off.


  63. anneNov 25, 20082:06 pm

    Hilarious!!!! I totally HATE those threads as well — just cut them already!


  64. jackieDec 4, 20088:37 pm

    I know this is an old post, but thank you for it!! The whole x on vents and weird extra tag on sleeves drives me so batty!!


  65. LoLoDec 28, 20083:58 pm

    I am shocked at how unbelieveably rude and snobbish the people are on this site! A person who does not cut the labels off of a wool coat is niether lazy nor flaunting thier wealth; they are just uneducated about label ettiquette.

    You people are the exact ones who pointed and laughed at the smart kid at school because his pants were too short. Shame on you all.

    And by the way, removing labels from shampoo bottles is a good indication of OCD type behavior; you’d better have your heads shrunk.


  66. Anna at D16Dec 28, 20087:12 pm

    LoLo, I was about to give you credit for making a fair point — up until I made it to the second and third statements where you started calling people names and making fun of mental illness (do people really still talk about “head shrinking” in 2008?).

    I’m always baffled by people who try to combat what they see as “rudeness” by being as rude and rash as possible in response. Are you sure you really believe in what you’re saying?

    Also, have you heard of humor and sarcasm?


  67. marissaDec 29, 20082:07 pm

    oh my gosh, thank you for this PSA! I wish I could shout it from the rooftops over Boston!


  68. CeciliaJan 4, 200910:57 am

    Here here….let’s rid the world of those stiches…and also price tags stuck on the bottom of cups and saucers and other things in use and no longer on sale….which reminds me of the lamps in my ex inlaws’ house–they kept the plastic film over the lamp shades forever–I first noticed they still had the plastic film on when I smelled burning plastic one day…I mentioned to them but apparently they wanted to keep the lamps “clean”…I decided right there and then I could not stay married to their son and soon thereafter we split up….


  69. TheresaJan 6, 200912:31 pm

    Oh my gosh I thought I was the only person driven crazy by thread X’s! I see them at least 4 times a week, in fact I saw one this morning on my coworkers coat.

    I think people just don’t realize it’s a temporary stitch, the companies should really sew it with a contrasting colored thread so people see it and go “oh, that’s not right.”


  70. DaveJan 8, 20094:00 am

    Why do so many women leave all the stickers on there shoes, and not just new shoes…worn ones too! Must be a reason why, maybe because they dont want to break a nail?


  71. NikkiJan 13, 200911:55 am

    Can I get an Amen? It stuns me how this piece of knowledge eludes people – seemingly otherwise educated folks. I was interpreting in a courtroom not long ago and one of the attorneys had failed to clip the stitches holding together the side slits in her skirt – it was all I could do not to lean over and yank ’em out every time she passed me. The best part was when my client stopped me mid-sentence to interject “aren’t you supposed to cut those stitches off after you buy the clothes?” (in sign language – I’m an ASL interpreter) I almost lost it – in a courtroom.


  72. MarciaJan 13, 20091:26 pm

    Arrrgh. Stickers on the bottom of dinnerware and flower vases. Stickers on the bottom of shoes. Vents sewn shut. I don’t get it. I work as a bartender and what drives me batty is people who do not remove the sticker from the side of their disposable lighters. Why? I am always grabbing a guys lighter and peeling the white warning sticker off. They always act so surprised like they did not know stickers came off. They even buy the fancy plastic lighters with the designs and leave one whole side covered with the sticker. Why? Sometimes they have been carrying the stickered lighter around so long their hand oils have bonded with the sticker making it discolored and gooey. Thanks for letting me get this off my conscience. I remove toiletry labels from my items in the bath too.


  73. HMJan 14, 200911:31 am

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog for the past few days since I found it, but now I really really like you! I have thought about having a pair of scissors in my purse and cutting open the X’s on peoples coats behind their back when I see it in the street.

    But I have to disagree with the comments about stitched shut pockets – leaving them shut and not using them keeps the garment looking better longer. This especially true for mens suits. On suit jackets nothing other than the inside pockets should ever be opened up and used, and not even all of those if it can be avoided. Suit jackets with open sagging pockets full of stuff look awful.


  74. elizaMar 4, 200912:30 am

    I realize this is belated, plus I didn’t read about half of these posts to see if I’m repeating someone. I stood on the bus staring at the ‘X’ on a girl’s coat tails for about 45 minutes wondering if I should say something. On the topic of cards, while I don’t have cards I often write up quick little notes to put on people’s cars when they park indecently:
    “Oops! You accidentally took up two parking spots; better luck next time :)”


  75. Corey WatsonMar 12, 20097:41 pm

    This is the best blog post on the internet!


  76. Lori SmithApr 6, 200912:13 pm

    I’m *so* glad it’s not just me who gets supremely annoyed by this. The cards are a brilliant idea!


  77. jimmiefraizeApr 10, 20099:43 pm

    i dont knmow exactly what your talking about by a vent? but do you mean things like people that have the chuck taylor badge thing hanging from their new chucks?


  78. RogerJun 3, 20093:28 pm

    Guess what I’m a Man that removed the label on my suit I’m getting married in, didn’t have a good pair of sissors and now there is a small hole in the suit jacket I’m getting married in. If I left it on a woman probably my mother would have taken it off with a seam ripper or a good pair of sissors, and I wouldn’t have a hole.


  79. MilissaApr 4, 20126:33 pm

    I have always wanted to go up to these naive people and say HELLO! :) Cut the stitch!!!


  80. kateApr 24, 201210:17 pm

    4 years later… it’s no better!! MAKE IT STOP!!


  81. AbiJan 28, 201311:41 am

    THANK YOU! There are people at my office who just don’t get this!!!…even my co-works know how this irritates me.. I will be forwarding a link to this helpful article from now on.


  82. JenMay 30, 201311:56 pm

    omg, yes!

    While we’re on the subject of labels, when I combined households with my husband, it drove me crazy that he didn’t remove lables from dishes. Like the Rubbermaid plastic juice pitcher. It had papery adhesive remnants on it even though he’d used it for years. The label is paper based! It is an item that gets wet! Of course you get rid of the label! Luckily it eventually cracked and I made sure to peel the label off the new one before he used it. Came off easily since it hadn’t got wet yet!!!


  83. ARNov 23, 20133:17 pm

    I am really glad I came across this. I bought a blazer jacket haven’t worn it because I didn’t know about the stitching. If i was committing a fashion crime, I would want to know! I would not want someone to embarrass me but if they could privately tell me and actually help with something that can be fixed, great!! :)


  84. Dude SeriouslyFeb 19, 201412:55 pm

    Can confirm, still happening in 2014 -.-

    Let’s make stickers and place them in all boutiques, Harrods and Selfridges!


  85. LizzieMay 4, 201410:44 pm

    THANK YOU for posting this. I am a tomboy at heart and know good fashion when I see it (and can “work” nice attire, too), but . . . I don’t know about small but significant matters like this. I have an interview tomorrow morning, bought a new skirt today, and just noticed the X tonight. ???? were above my head. I went online, did a search for what I saw on the skirt slit, and voila! There was your PSA. THANK YOU!!!!


  86. ddeOct 27, 201410:25 am

    I leave my pockets sewn shut on just about every suit and pant I own. I don’t like the pockets to gap open especially if they are side seam pockets on pants. Not sure why any designer would do that on a women’s pant anyway (aren’t we always trying to make our hips look smaller!). Besides, who can tell if a pocket is sewn or not. But of course all other things get the snip!


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